A blog by Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Brian Tannebaum. Commenting on criminal law issues of local and national interest.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Stale Anonymous Argument Against/For/Criminal Defense Lawyers

My post below on The Core of a Criminal Defense Lawyer was about recent thoughts I've been having about the genesis of my career and a desire to spend some more time going back to basics and representing indigent clients. That was the point. The point was not that I am tired of private practice, or that I want to go back to being a public defender, or as my anonymous commenter thought, that I had a conscience problem and was maybe thinking about not being a criminal defense lawyer.

But to my anonymous commenter, referred to as a "dickwad," by a fellow criminal defense lawyer, and more appropriately nicknamed as "typical uninformed but opinionated pontificator," the post was me questioning my role in society.

This is what we call a "teaching moment."

Let's look at anonymous' thoughts:

First, he suggests a career change for me may be a good thought:

Nice way to assuage the old conscience. I have a friend who spent some time as a defense attorney. He then became a prosecutor, taking a major pay cut in the process, but he can look himself in the mirror far more easily.

You know, I've been doing this for a while, and I've seen plenty of mirrors. Never had an issue taking a quick look. (The "sleep at night" comment is below, don't you worry readers)

Anyway, the comment generated some strong words from fellow criminal defense lawyer Mirriam Seddiq:

Anonymous is a dickwad. His friend wasn't making a dime which is why he went to be a prosecutor. Probably sucked at working for a firm, or for himself. Probably was a shitty defense lawyer since he didn't have anyone barking out orders or telling him what to do. Probably fucked up his clients rights on a daily basis, hence the inability to look himself in the mirror. Clearly didn't believe in our constitution. We are better off without him on our side.

Mirriam colorfully makes the point that criminal defense is not for everyone. For that matter, either is being a mortician, window washer (watching them certainly gives me the heebee jeebees), or prosecutor (there are some who can't see spending their days trying to put people in jail.)

All of this is OK. I can't remember a week where someone didn't read from the script and say "I could never do what you do."

I could never be a divorce lawyer - spending my days hearing bullshit complaints about kids and furniture and money, and being responsible for splitting a family apart. I could never be an insurance defense lawyer - spending my days trying to deny sick people medical care due to technicalities in policies.

It's really OK. Not everything is for everyone.

After Mirriam's comment, the bold Anonymous said (in part):

I can't tell you how successful he was in defending his clients, as we moved to different cities when we started work. I can tell you what he said to me a social gathering, that since he became a prosecutor he makes far less money, but has a cleaner conscience. His problem was that most (not all) of his clients were factually guilty of what they had been charged with. If that makes me a dickwad to say, that is your opinion. If you want to believe that every one of your clients, or even a majority of them, are factually innocent, then I have some desert swampland to sell you.

Now let's stop right here.

Mirriam never said anything about factual innocence, or her belief that all her clients are innocent.

Here we realize that Anonymous has missed the point, not that this should stop him from opining.

Let the teaching begin.

Anonymous (not sure if that's your first or last name), factual innocence is not an issue in most cases. See, what we do is investigate the case and determine whether there are grounds to argue that the Constitution (which I'm sure you've read) has been violated. Most defendants are found or plead guilty. Many guilty defendants that plead guilty, do so with the advice of a criminal defense lawyer - the same people you claim may have issues with their conscience or looking in the mirror. Sure, there are defense lawyers that believe that all their clients are victimized, but there are also prosecutors that believe everyone they charge is guilty. Really, it's true.

Anonymous continues:

I understand the need to have rationalizations for what you guys do. We all need to sleep at night peacefully. Heck, I even support having criminal defense lawyers do their best for their clients. It keeps the state honest and makes the government really prove guilt. That still doesn't prevent innocent people from going to prison, but it hopefully slows the process. But, really at the end of the day, if you perform brilliantly, and get someone who you know actually did commit some heinous act acquitted, does that make you feel good? Especially if your client had an innocent victim who will now not get justice through the legal system? Yes, your job as defense counsel IS needed, but there are a lot of unwholesome tasks that need to be done in our society. That they are needed doesn't make them good. But heck, if you can make a fortune at it, then rationalize away about government tyranny. Just remember that some of your clients have real tangible victims, with lives destroyed or damaged by the people you defend. Those victims are not "the government". Those victims are little children, raped women, or people who have died because of something your client did. The state doesn't always charge your clients just because it is amusing or politically expedient, although that DOES happen sometimes. Sometimes your clients get charged because, amazingly enough, they actually DID hurt or kill another human being. And if you are successful, that harmed human being will never get justice within the legal system. That sure is something to be proud of.

Rationalizations? I have none. I do what I do because I believe in the Constitution, I believe in this country, and I believe that anyone charged with a crime deserves a good defense - even you Anonymous who thinks that we serve some purpose when we think and do what you deem appropriate.

And he (or she) continues, having re-written the same comment, but with some changes:

Yes, you can make vast sums of money defending guilty people who can afford your fees. No, not every crime has a victim who is badly harmed. Not every suspect needs to get hammered with prison time. But, there are cases where if you do succeed, an innocent victim who your client raped, killed or otherwise assaulted, does not get justice. That isn't "the government" against your client as the rationalizations you have says. That is innocent human being, harmed or killed by your client, who has no legal recourse because you did your job well. I doubt if I could sleep well at night knowing that because I did my job well at 200$ per hour, a rapist or killer walked free. If fact, I would need a very strong fortress of moral excuses. But then again, I am not a defense attorney either.

"Vast sums of money." That's funny Anonymous. I know plenty of poor criminal defense lawyers. A small minority of people in every profession make "vast sums of money," but I know it makes you feel better to wrongfully think that we do this for the "vast sums of money." People don't like people who make "vast sums of money," so if you can throw that into your argument, it riles up the folks out there that think "all lawyers are rich greedy bastards."

And yes Anonymous, we know you are not a defense attorney. We all sleep better at night knowing that.

Then, Anonymous looks like she (or he) may actually be thinking while typing (a rarity amongst anonymous blog commenters), he, (or she) does the 'ole "hey, I respect what you all do and so......:

It isn't that I don't see a place for a high quality defense bar. I would like to see public defenders with far more funding and manpower. Without you guys, far more innocent people would face legal sanctions. What I object to is this pious "noble paladins defending a bunch of doe eyed innocent victims targeted by the evil government for no reason" rhetoric. Your job is to make the state prove every element of its case or at least to obtain the best deal possible for your client, but the fact remains that most of your clients ARE guilty. To rationalize otherwise is just to assuage your own conscience.

If you're still wondering when anyone said anything about factual innocence, the answer is still, never.

Now let's make something clear - Anonymous has a line of thinking. One we're heard before, probably 3 days ago at a cocktail party. Anonymous thinks we need good defense lawyers to make sure the government does their job. He thinks this is an important part of society, except when we win and people who rape and murder walk free. He thinks the system should provide trials and due process, as long as no guilty people go free.

In a perfect world, all guilty people would be convicted and all innocent people would go free. In a further perfect world, police officers wouldn't force innocent people to confess to crimes they didn't commit, wouldn't violate the Fourth Amendment (I linked to it Anonymous in case you wanted to take a gander), and eyewitnesses would never mistakenly identify the wrong guy.

What makes Anonymous a pillar of society is that if he was arrested and committed the crime, he would immediately plead guilty, even if a lawyer told him that the police made a mistake and due to that mistake he could go free instead of spending his life in prison for the harm he caused his victim.

Anonymous does make exceptions. Rape and Murder are crimes for which we criminal defense lawyers should be ashamed to take victories when the client is guilty. But when a client is guilty of getting into a 4,000 pound moving machine and driving drunk - getting people off is something to cheer:

Let me cite an example of a good criminal defense attorney I know. He was a cop who was an absolute wizard at racking up many airtight OVI (drunk driving) arrests. He retired, went to law school...and now has a practice that mainly defends drunk drivers. He is very good at it and makes a boatload of money. He has a good success rate defending his clients as well. I once charged one his clients with OVI and he got it reduced to a 100$ traffic fine for a non-OVI moving violation. This client was wasted and even blew a .10 BAC, but that is good legal talent at work. It was awesome to behold. If I am ever charged with OVI I know who to hire. But he is under no illusions about his clients' guilt if you talk with him "outside of school." If you are charged with OVI, this is the lawyer you want to hire. Not because he believes all the pious BS rhetoric about his "client being victimized by the state for no reason", but because even if he knows you were totally wasted behind the wheel, he has the legal skills to give you a great defense. If you pay him enough he will use those skills at your behest.

This is a perfectly honest and mercenary way to make a living, and it avoids the rationalizations.

Anonymous believes we rationalize, that we do our jobs by believing our clients are innocent and that the government is victimizing our clients. He is like that juror who says they "can be fair," but is really looking at the defendant during jury selection and saying "can I have the verdict form now?"

I appreciate people like Anonymous. There is no better way to educate people about the role of a criminal defense attorney, then to debate those who claim some understanding of what we do, when they have none.

Old, stale, transparent.

Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense lawyer in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court, and the author of The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer.Share/Save/Bookmarkokdork.com rules Post to Twitter


  1. Anonymous2:19 PM

    "I once charged one his clients with OVI and he got it reduced to a 100$ traffic fine for a non-OVI moving violation."

    Enough said.

  2. Anonymous9:03 PM

    With a good BAC breath sample over the limit even and field sobriety tests (witnessed by 3 coppers) that looked just awful. A nice plea bargain. I don't fault the lawyer at all. The client got punished, not so much with the piddly 100$ traffic fine, but with the far larger legal bill. Also, the client didn't actually hit anyone with the car. So,
    1. a drunk driver was taken off the road that night so he didn't kill anyone,
    2. I got to see a good lawyer (who I am personally fond of) in action and
    3. The client DID indeed get a substantial penalty as this particular lawyer doesn't work for free and devoted a lot of time (2 hearings, 1 other court appearance, plus motions that I am aware of). If the legal bill was less than 4000$ I would be surprised and this client wasn't wealthy.

    I consider it an all around win. Justice (that wonderfully subjective word) was served, in my opinion. Others may disagree and are certainly free to do so.

    As for my criticism of pious moralizing, I draw your attention to the first photograph header on this excellent blawg. It shows a white lawyer defending a black guy so poor he must wear overalls to court. The unstated implication is here is some innocent guy being jacked up by unfounded Jim Crow charges and only the noble criminal defense lawyer stands between the state and this guy going to a southern prison.

    You posted recently with great pride how you successfully (and I congratulate you) defended an actually innocent man against a federal case. That is something to be proud of. I am unaware of you posting as proudly about how happy you are about defending guilty clients. It isn't so much a question of what is overtly stated, but rather what is implied and not stated that I draw this picture from.

    If you find my presence here too troublesome, just let me know and I will leave your blog alone to serve as an echo chamber of like views.

  3. Lee Stonum11:55 PM

    You actually don't recognize what's depicted in the banner? Where did they make you?

  4. Is that dickwad again? I'm sorry I didn't get to read his response, but I was busy getting my guilty clients a fair share of justice, and also writing this week's blawg review.

    What is even better is that he doesn't know what the picture is from. And yet, he comes here to say his piece. Yeah for the first amendment.

  5. I can see that Anonymous really doesn't understand. He's a cop, pure and simple. That's the reason he is anonymous and doesn't understand. That way he can't be called personally to testify to the "truthfulness" of his statements. No cop I have ever spoken to has ever made a bad arrest or arrested an innocent person. Anonymous believes that to his core. That's just as much BS as what he thinks about what we do is.
    Like most criminal defense lawyers (and that's all I've ever done as a lawyer), I've represented a whole lot more factually guilty persons than I have factually innocent persons. And a few of them have walked. I took a certain amount of pride in that. I feel great about what I do. Anonymous should too, but he shouldn't begrudge others for their pride in their work. At least, most criminal defense lawyers I know are intellectually honest about what they do. No cop or prosecutor I know can say the same. Has anonymous ever arrested a person he believed to be not guilty of a crime because "he had to?" Because it was "policy?" Has he ever arrested both parties in a DV case or battery because "someone had to go to jail" and he couldn't figure out who was more guilty? Of course he has. Has Anonymous ever given a simple thought that actually innocent persons have been convicted and done prison time and even been executed, and cared enough to work from his side to see it doesn't happen on his watch? I doubt it. Has Anonymous ever knowingly overcharged someone he's arrested just so it would be harder for that person to bond out or defend himself? I imagine he has. Has Anonymous ever fought to reimburse an actually innocent accused for the expenses the accused incurred for attorney's fees, or ever offered to reimburse those fees on his own? Of course he hasn't. Anonymous is a blowhard who, if accused himself, will expect the full measure of a defense, and will insist on his innocence, even if he is guilty.
    I look in the mirror every morning and I see an advocate for the accused against the powerful government forces. I see a person who stands there on the side of the accused when no one else will. I see a person who has fought to prove, and actually proved, the actual innocence of an accused when even my colleagues and everyone else thought he was guilty. Money doesn't motivate me. The callenge of advocating for the underdog does. I am a paladin, and damn proud of it.

  6. I've searched Martindale and various other attorney search engines, and I didn't find a single person named "Anonymous."

    In giving him the benefit of the doubt, I figured he had a cool single word name like Madonna, Price, or Esteban. Better yet, I figured he was born the son of anarchist, new age hippies who wanted to show their individualism to a conformist society through the naming of their child. Alas, he is neither a Prince nor a Dweezil.

    Hey, perhaps he merely doesn't allow himself to be announced on the internet and has been very guarded about this personal identity and information online. Therefore, I've asked several prosecutor friends how "Anonymous" is doing. They all give me the same strange look.

    It appears that Anonymous has also not appeared in any noteworthy cases, as none of the online news sources fawn over the latest, scintillating, brilliant closing argument of Assistant US Attorney Anonymous.

    It is possible that he is part of the group that opposes the Church of Scientology. They call themselves "Anonymous." I might be onto something here.

    Perhaps that is why the OVI went so poorly. No judge would take something filed by "Anonymous" seriously.

    More likely, it seems that "Anonymous" realizes the wrath he'd suffer from those who hold his leash.

    Make no mistake, it is not his ideas that I condemn (yet), it is his hiding behind the curtain of anonymity. Buck-up sports fan, we only bite figuratively, not literally.

    (this is the Kansas Eric L. Mayer, not the Indianapolis Eric L. Mayer, just to be clear)

  7. Good lord Brian, that's the first post you've ever written that I quit reading.

    Who cares about Anonymous? He's a whiner who doesn't give a good goddamn about your opinion. If you could prove the correctness of your position he still wouldn't accept it because his position is one based on emotion and a standard, him especially, cannot meet.

    Tell him what I've started telling people who take his position, "You're a bad man Mr. Stanfield." "That's right," I answer, "And don't you ever forget it."

  8. I have only been practicing about 33 years now, mostly as a criminal defense lawyer. In that time, I have noticed that the biggest champions of the Bill of Rights are cops who find themselves sitting at the defense table. A lot of people don't like us. Until they need us.

  9. Jonathan Hansen9:40 PM

    I think anonymous ignores, is unaware of, or severely underestimates the importance of the balancing of power function that is performed by criminal defense. Some police officers and prosecutors are willing to prejudge a person as guilty, or "bad", and will then allow the end to justify the means, by breaking the rules in order to convict someone. But the accused is really only accused of breaking the rules as well. Who is worse here? Those in authority who have virtually unlimited discretion and immunity and use it for their own ends, or those they accuse?
    This is among the slipperiest of slopes and the game is rigged. Criminal defense is one of the few small wedges available to hold the power of the government in check and make them follow the rules. Sure, some guilty go free - but the alternative, that the government should be able to convict people without following the rules, is essentially the tyranny of a police state. Letting those in authority decide which rules they want to follow and enforce is simply untenable.

  10. Anonymous10:57 PM

    Good responses guys.

    1. I do indeed believe that cops have charged innocent people. Illinois even executed several factually innocent people as the worst examples I can think of, but lesser examples also abound. That is where you guys actually DO work for the real moral good as opposed to just serving as a (needed) check to keep the system honest to make the state prove its case.

    2. Cops are people. They make mistakes the same as....defense lawyers.

    3. Sorry, I am not a film or TV buff. I don't recognize the photograph on the blawg heading.

    4. I take great pride in that I have NEVER charged a person who isn't guilty of the crime for which I charge them. Have other cops done so? I am sure they have, just as defense lawyers have screwed up their task. What I can say with certainty is that if I don't have far beyond probable cause, I don't charge you. I don't overcharge people to "stack" the case. I don't charge without very clear proof such as forensic evidence, I saw it with my own eyes, I have a tape recorded confession, there is video of the suspect doing the crime, or numerous witnesses have very fully identified the guy. The nature of things where I work is that you can present the "perfect" case and it still gets plead down to nothing. The prosecutor just has a caseload so heavy they must dispose of cases fast and loose. That isn't a reflection on my work product so much as the system.

    5. It also isn't my place to judge a defendent. My job is to only charge people with a case I have overwhelming proof of guilt for so that I do NOT introduce a factually innocent person to the legal system. I take that responsibility VERY seriously. What the courts do after that is not in my purview. From what I have seen, guilt or innocence is only one small factor in how a case resolves. I have seen low level (indigent of course) suspects get jail time for a low level misdemeanor where I have see felony suspects who can retain good lawyers get probation with no jail time. That isn't a reflection on guilt. In both cases the guys were guilty. I caught the indigent fellow as he was literally walking out of the store with stolen goods in hand, and the felony suspect had equally convincing evidence. It really was a "how much justice can you afford?" situation.

    6. I remain anonymous for valid reasons. I am a low level civil servant in the grand scheme of things. I am comfortable with that place in life, but it also imposes a few minor restrictions. Civil servants do not enjoy free speech the same way you guys do being one such limitation.

    7. I don't object to defense attorneys existing and doing their jobs. Heck, when you defend an innocent person you should feel like a noble paladin indeed. My problem is when you guys talk about defending people who are guilty as heck (and most, but NOT all, of your clients are guilty) like it is Mother Theresa saving orphans just bothers me. Yeah, someone has to do it, and do it well. But it ain't good and it ain't noble. It is just a lucrative task that must happen or our system of justice gets even more messed up than it already is.

  11. Lee Stonum2:21 AM

    I don't want to get into the argument with you. We're two far apart to ever come close.

    The photo is from the movie version of To Kill a Mockingbird. You should read it, seriously. It is a great book.

    With respect to 4: have you arrested someone who has been identified by people, who don't otherwise know him, as the perpetrator of a crime without much else evidence? Have you arrested anyone in a domestic violence situation? Hell, have you made a dope sales bust on circumstantial indicia? Then chances are you have arrested someone who was not guilty of the crime you arrested them for. That you would have the arrogance to presume that you have never arrested an innocent person, unless wherever you work is so VASTLY different than where I practice, that is frightening.

    However, the fact that you are here reading this blog and coming back to continue the discussion, is something. And for that I'll give you some credit. Most cops won't even have the discussion.

  12. "Never charged a person guilty of a crime"??!! You have got to be kidding me. Have any of the people he has arrested been tried and found not guilty?

    These are joke comments by a cop who has slithered out from under his rock. I also suspect that when even half-way competent defense lawyers cross-examine him, they can only but tear him a new one each and every time he testifies.

    The Anonymous police officer is exactly the kind of witless, unlettered, knuckle dragging dupe that police forces across the world hire to "police" the rest of us.

    His personal motto must be, "Don't question my authoritah' boy"

    Really, where do you begin a conversation with somebody like him?

  13. It is good and it is noble. Anonymous will never, in a million years convince me otherwise. When I stand next to someone who is as guilty as fuck I still know that I"m there to fight the good fight no matter what.

    Lee, you can't have a conversation with him. He believes in what he does the same way we believe in what we do. But we are right and he is wrong.

  14. Anonymous10:11 PM

    I give up. You guys win. Lets even take it the other end. Maybe the police shouldn't ever charge anyone. Maybe prosecutors shouldn't prosecute anyone. That way you can have 100% assurance that your clients don't face criminal or traffic penalties. Ah, what a wonderful world that would create.

  15. Anonymous12:31 AM

    Great post. Anonymous, plain and simple, lacks a respect for natural rights. We need more good criminal defense attorneys and less people who think like Anonymous.

  16. See. That's the point. You can't at least concede the other side has some valid viewpoints. I'll concede that you have some. Hey, I believe we need cops. I want my safety. I don't want them at the cost of my own liberty. You may be the best cop ever, who makes no mistakes, like Nancy Grace ob CNN who never, ever lost a case as a prosecutor. But, I suggest that occasiuonaly we all make mistakes, even you. Has every case you've ever been involed in resulted in a plea as charged or guilty verdict? I doubt it. The fact is, there is room for both of us. I, and Brian, and the other defense attorneys have to defend what we do from time to time, but we don't care, we are proud of what we do. We do it openly. You, on the other hand, we know, are a cop, hiding behind anonymous, and probably for good reason. You are good at what you do, but you are not, as you claim, perfect. If you unveiled your cloak, we could prove it. That's why you give up. You don't want to uncloak yourself.

  17. Anonymous (Not the Cop)7:19 PM


    I thought you would find these posts from Andrew Sullivan's blog interesting. I look forward to your comments if you are so inclined.








  18. Anonymous1:49 AM


    I have had most of my cases (including very good ones) plead down to next to nothing before, but never had one entirely dismissed by the court. I have also never charged someone who was acquitted at trial. The acquittal record isn't a boast. Very few cases in my county ever get tried. Only 2 of mine have. For some reason in my county people fight OVI's all the way through but could care less about pleading guilty to lesser included criminal offenses. I still don't understand why that is.

    I do stand by that I have never charged someone without at least probable cause. Other cops HAVE done so, and innocent people have been falsely charged. I DO agree with that statement. I am just saying that I personally have never done it.

    I will give an example of where I did NOT charge someone even when I did have PC. A suspect stole some items from store. Misdemeanor shoplifting. It was captured on videotape, including clear film of the suspect's face. Other local agencies had similar events, and they identified a suspect for their crimes. I looked at the guy from BMV photos and past arrest photos and the resemblance was striking. He also had a long record going back 10 years for theft offenses. I assembled a photographic lineup and showed it to the store clerks. They identified the guy. I still did NOT charge him because that wasn't enough for me, even if it did meet the minimum PC threshold. I am that cautious about charging people.

    Let me give you another example of how one my cases evaporated. I saw a suspect stealing property. I saw it with my own eyes. I stopped the suspect and read him his Miranda rights. I even recorded it on a tape recorder I carry just for such situations. He admitted, on tape, to stealing the items. I then traced the property owner. The owner wanted criminal charges, did not know the suspect, and did not give the suspect permission to steal her property. I charged the suspect with felony Theft (the property made it a felony). I don't know how much more you could possibly want for an airtight case with far more than PC. That case was plead down to a far lesser misdemeanor offense and disposed of in the same way you dispose of a used soda can. So, I don't take the charge evaporating to equate to shoddy police work. I attribute it (in that case) to an overworked prosecutor with an overwhelming case load.

    As I have said before, there IS a place for criminal defense lawyers in the system. That is what gets actually innocent people out of prison. You are what gets actually innocent people acquitted. Those are things to be proud of. Someday you and I will answer to God and you can say with pride that you kept innocent people out of jail. You also serve a role in getting guilty peoples' sentences lowered. That also has a place.

    My only objection is when you guys present defending very guilty people as some form of noble deed. Yes, you need to do it. But to be proud of it?

    Let me give a hypothetical. Let us say you have a client named Hannibal Dahmer. Mr. Dahmer shoots Brian (our blawg host) dead on the courthouse steps and eats the body. He does this in front of witnesses and live on TV. There is no question that he did it. But, you are a legal wizard. And the police and prosecutor flubb things up. You put on a brilliant performance at trial and Mr. Dahmer walks free thanks to your brilliant lawyering. Could you look Brian's widow in the eye and REALLY say how proud you were of the good deed you accomplished in court? Because I could not, and that is why I would be a poor defense counsel. I would feel as I had committed a grave sin by getting Mr. Dahmer off for which I would have to answer for in the next life. The mode of thinking where that is a positive thing is beyond my understanding.

  19. "My only objection is when you guys present defending very guilty people as some form of noble deed. Yes, you need to do it. But to be proud of it?"

    Anonymous, I've sat back and watched you come here with more explanations for your cowardness and disgraceful opinions of criminal defense lawyers than I've seen from any commenter here in 5 years of writing this blog.

    The only intelligent thing you've done here is (try to remain) anonymous, because a cross examination of you at this point would be brutal, and embarrassing to any prosecutor and judge that had you in their courtroom.

    I agree you would make a poor defense lawyer, as you make a poor part of our system. You believe that we should walk into court with our heads hung low because we do something to which you object. I know officers like you. I usually read about them at some point having committed some crime or ethical violation, and then laugh at their prior pontifications.

    You have no basis to judge the lawyers in the system who stand up to the govermnemt and say "prove it." And let me make something clear, not one criminal defense lawyer in this country will ever have to answer in the next life for making sure that the government follows the constitiution, regardless of what you think.

    Should divorce lawyers who successfully argue to a judge that their client pay no child support be proud? Should they be able to look at a young kid and say "I'm the reason you're getting nothing from your Daddy? You, Anonymous, have no concept of the law, or the system. You believe the system works when it works to your satisfaction, when you "know" someone is guilty.

    I read all your attempts to rehabilitate your immature and stale arguments. The "aw shucks" I really dont' hate you guys stuff is not being bought by anyone here, so save it. You don't like criminal defense lawyers or what they do, unless their clients are convicted. Then it's ok.

    You know what I'm not proud of - cops like you who believe you hold some moral high ground.

    I think we've all gotten your point, regardless of your incessant backtracking.

    Good luck officer.

  20. Anonymous1:41 AM

    "Should divorce lawyers who successfully argue to a judge that their client pay no child support be proud? Should they be able to look at a young kid and say "I'm the reason you're getting nothing from your Daddy?"

    And that is the essential reason why I don't understand you guys. Not to say to the kid, "I am doing my job as part of the system and that is why you get no child support. I don't like it, but that is the nature of our legal system and it exists for good reasons larger than this case." I don't have a problem with that tack, but you guys in general take it further. You would say that, "I am proud that because of my legal ability, a small child may now have less money to live on, and this is a noble and honorable deed that I accomplished by depriving that child of resources." I just can't accept that on my conscience. I think that is immoral, whether it is legal or not.

    At any rate, it seems you want an echo chamber of like minded folks here. I will bow out and let people who think alike have the page. Thanks for your time and at least listening.

  21. Anonymous Cop, spare us the "aw shucks, nobody wants me here" crap. We have all entertained your comments on your disrespect for the criminal defense function and see now that it extends to any type of lawyer who claims to be proud of success with which you can't morally accept.

    Instead, you should thank me for providing you with a vehicle, this blog, where you can anonymously spew your thoughts with no repurcussions. Imagine if you had the guts to post your name - what would happen during the next cross examination of you? (I know, all your arrestees are guilty and never go to trial, I get it.)

    I think we all understand exactly how you feel about lawyers, and yourself.

  22. Anonymous1:43 PM

    Indeed I do thank you. It is very rare that I get a chance to discuss the larger themes with people.

    I have one question for you. Rather than talking about your clients or the system, or the cops I would like to ask a personal question. Let us say that a suspect (call him Hannibal Dahmer) seriously harmed you or a member of your family. Let us say that Mr. Dahmer was identified and the prosecutor asked you if you wanted him charged with a crime. If you said no, no charges would be filed and the suspect walks free. If you agreed, Mr. Dahmer would be charged with a raft of felonies.

    In that situation would you agree to have the suspect charged?

  23. Anonymous,

    That is a difficult question, mainly based on the fact that I don't know what the charges would be. I long for the days when kids fought or a baseball went through a window and the matter was resolved without criminal charges. Those days are long gone.

    You say "seriously," so I assume you mean rape, robbery, or worse. First, I'll accept your hypothetical for purposes of your question, but as you know, the victims request is a part of the prosecutors decision in charging a suspect.

    I don't think I could forgo a prosecution for a serious personal crime, but I would want to be heard as to sentencing.

  24. Anonymous2:20 AM

    "I long for the days when kids fought or a baseball went through a window and the matter was resolved without criminal charges. Those days are long gone."

    I DO resolve property crimes (most recently a DVR player broken during an argument) frequently without criminal charges. If the victim is willing accept repayment in lieu of charges, then if the suspect makes good the financial loss I have on many occassions let it go at that. I once had a homeless guy eat a sandwich joint meal that he couldn't afford. Rather than charge him with theft I just paid for the meal myself. It was easier to just pay the 10$ than arresting the guy and spending 2 hours on paperwork.

    As for the hypothetical, this gets back the real issue. Let us say it is indeed a serious (rape, murder, something on that order) felony. So you assent and the case gets prosecuted. Let us say that Mr. Dahmer can afford top flight legal talent. The prosecutor is a warm body with a law degree. Mr. Dahmer's counsel does such an awesome job that he gets acquitted in a jury trial and walks free. Do you feel that justice would have been served in that situation? Could you be at peace knowing that you had your day in court, so that is the end of the matter? Especially while you or your family member remain badly physically harmed while the man who inflicted the injury walked away?

  25. Anonymous8:03 AM

    Anonymous states above "4. I take great pride in that I have NEVER charged a person who isn't guilty of the crime"

    and then goes right on to say "5. It also isn't my place to judge a defendent"

    I have to ask how he determines that the people he arrests are guilty without judging them...

  26. We are all hypocrites as human beings. I would want to kill someone who harmed my family member. But I would stand next to him and fight the government to the death if I was his lawyer and he had harmed someone else's.

    I am proud of what I do. I am proud to make the government prove it. I am thrilled when I win. If you do your job well and fairly and the end result is that I lose, so be it. I hate to lose. I want to win. It's that simple.

    Why would I do a job I hate or that I'm not proud of?

  27. Anonymous5:35 PM


    The legal system is not, to my mind, about winning or losing. It isn't a baseball game. If you have an actually innocent client that loses, an innocent person may go to prison. If you have guilty client that wins, then the victim (not "the government", but the tangible human being who was harmed by your client) does not get justice. That is not a game to "win" to gratify the ego and earn a high fee. It is a very serious business that involves both legal and moral implications. My position is that sometimes your legal obligations as defense counsel conflict with the moral obligations of human decency.

    I would ask you the same thing. Let us say someone raped a family member of yours. Let us say that there are witnesses and DNA evidence against the suspect. Let us say that the suspect had good defense counsel who got him acquitted. Would congratulate that counsel on his brilliant "win"? Would you say that, "the government didn't infringe his client's rights?" Of course not. So why can't you see how others take issue with you having pride in potentially serving as the defense counsel in just such a case, as you are well paid and obligated to do?

  28. Mikael9:33 PM

    Anonymous: You're attacking strawmen. No attorney here is making the arguments you claim we are.

    Respond to what people actually type. Not what you think "all criminal defense attorneys think like."

    Thanks, Officer.